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How to get a better sleep schedule (as a uni student)?

sbella02
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hey all,

I'm genuinely curious, as somebody who has long struggled with sleep deprivation. For uni students who go to bed early specifically, what is your secret? Is there a foolproof way to consistently go to bed early AND manage to fit all other commitments/activities/study into your day?

I just cannot seem to get to sleep before 12 these days, and it affects me in more ways than one. I struggle to wake up early, I'm constantly tired, and it may or may not be affecting my mood, but that's difficult to assess really.

I'm in awe of people who have a consistent 9pm, 10pm, 11pm bedtime. How? It seems so unachievable to me.

Are there any amazing methods that people use that seem to work every time? Is it meditation, setting alarms, having others remind you? Keen to hear people's experiences.

People who aren't uni students, you're definitely welcome to reply as well, I'm just specifically interested to hear the perspectives of people with whom I share similar schedules/study commitments.

SB 🙂

17 Replies 17

geoff
Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello SB, if your routine is unstable, then you need to establish it, only allow yourself to go out Friday, Saturday night/day and Sunday during the day, the other week night nights, try and establish a regular schedule where you can sit in front of the TV an hour before bed, but you will need to tell your friends that only for an exceptional reason can you go out during the week, alternatively it may be the other way around, but stick to a regular pattern.

Best wishes.

Geoff.

Beeee
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi sbella02,

Fellow uni student here!

I usually go to bed around 11pm and wake up around 9am which is not very early, but I do feel like my sleep schedule is always consistent. I understand how difficult it is to fit all your commitments into a day. I like to stay organised, which I think helps me balance all my commitments. I live by my planner, sometimes even planning every hour of my day and plan for everything including work, uni, errands, socialising.

I think good sleep habits are also important to make sure the sleep you do get is quality sleep. Changing your sheets every week, no screens an hour before bed, no caffeine in the afternoon. These are some things you might try.

Lastly, I would just add, if you feel like you have too many commitments, maybe see where you can reduce your workload.

Hope this helps,

Beeee

Banksy92
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hey sbella02,

While not everyone is built for the same sleep cycle (some people just function better later in the evenings) there are definitely key steps that can help rejig your routine and help get you to bed earlier.

My tips are:

- Getting enough sunlight during the day, this helps the body regulate sleep

- Having a night time routine, for me it's a warm shower and read a book in bed so i'm not on my phone past 10pm.

- Trying not to let yourself sleep in - so committing to a wake up/get up time (maybe like 8am?) so that you're tired earlier

- Sometimes magnesium can be a great sleep aid while you're reestablishing your routine as well.

And obviously the other stuff like getting exercise in during the day and no caffeine after midday.

Remember, if you have a good routine, you don't have to feel super sleepy to go to bed. Just build a habit of getting to bed and reading (or maybe listening to a sleep track?) so your body starts to learn this is your time to wind down.

sbella02
Community Champion
Community Champion

Geoff,

Thank you for your response. It's not necessarily that my routine is unstable - it's stable, just in the wrong place. I would love to go to bed and wake up earlier, that's the ultimate goal. I also wish I could blame my sleep schedule on my friends, but it's more so my own self keeping me from changing my sleeping habits. I do like the idea of only staying out late under exceptional circumstances, like once a week.

sbella02
Community Champion
Community Champion

Beeee,

Thank you for your reply! I also have a planner, and I do wish I used it more. 11pm - 9am sounds like a dream.

Good suggestions. I don't tend to drink caffeine anyway which is a plus, but the screens before bed definitely speaks to me. I also love overcommitting myself, and I have no doubt that this is also taking a toll on my sleep schedule, because there just aren't enough hours in the day for me to get things done that I'd like to.

Thank you for your advice!

sbella02
Community Champion
Community Champion

Bansky92,

Thank you for your reply also. It's funny you mention how we all have different sleep cycles that work best for us, one of my uni courses at the moment is looking at people who are more suited to mornings vs evenings. Chronotype, they call it.

I love the tip about sunlight during the day, it's good for regulating your circadian rhythm - also the point about exercise. I would absolutely love to read a book before bed, I used to be such an avid reader but just don't seem to have the time anymore.

Thank you for your suggestions!

I am old, I'd pay a lot of money to have your knees 🙂 However, I've always struggled with sleep. You say you struggle to find time to read? I find that, as I work in IT and look at a screen all day, carving out 30 min in bed with no devices to read before I sleep really helps me. The other thing I have to do, which I doubt is an issue for you, is go to sleep at 10 and not 8:30, if I want to sleep 'through the night'. I find decent sleep does not come unless I plan for it. And obvs no caffiene in the evening, etc.

livi_mivi
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hey sbella02,

As a fellow uni student that struggles with overcommitment and sleep deprivation, here are a few things I found that have helped my sleep schedule,

1. Setting boundaries: I am all for having a fun night with friends/SO/family but I have discovered that I find it extremely awkward to end a catch up and often end up waiting until the other person is ready to end the catch-up (which makes for many late nights at times). I've found that being really clear from the start can help with that (e.g. Hey ____, I would love to catch up and hang out but I will need to be home by 10, does this work for you?)

2. Having a night routine - I am extremely consistent with my skincare every night before bed and it acts as a "sign off" for the end of the day. I also love changing into my pjs just before bed. It's like a little ritual that signals to my body that it's time to go to sleep and makes me fall asleep.

3. Creating a good sleep environment - like others have mentioned in this thread, a good sleep environment is so important! Although it might not be possible for some, I try my best to avoid spending too much time in my room on activities other than sleep (e.g. studying from bed, relaxing in bed). I also try to eliminate as much light as possible before bed (avoiding using tech, keeping my room dimly light after a certain time, sleeping in the dark).

4. Clearing my head - I've found that sometimes I have racing thoughts about what I need to do when I wake up in the morning, rethinking a situation that happened during the day or stressing that I might forget something that I need the next day. Whenever I have racing thoughts, I find it so hard to unwind and fall asleep. I try my best to clear my thoughts before bed by completing tasks that might make me feel more at ease (make a to-do list for the next day, pack a bag/prepare outfit/prepare food for the next day etc.). I also find that meditation/mindfulness has been really helpful for me. The Smiling Mind app has a great sleep series that I've found really helpful for settling myself when I'm laying down!

One thing I still haven't perfected is my morning routine but I've heard just how important and effective that is on motivating you to get up in the morning (which is SO hard hahah)

Best of luck with your course and your sleep 🙂

sbella02
Community Champion
Community Champion

Livi_mivi,

My perfectionist brain craves nicely organised lists like yours, so thank you haha.

I used to have a bit of a night-time routine, but found that the routine itself was becoming inhibitory as I'd added so much to it that it became almost a chore rather than something that would help prepare me to sleep. Nonetheless, I like the idea of having tasks that you learn to associate with bedtime, thank you.

I love the thought of meditating before bed, but have never actually tried it at this time, or added it to my routine consistently at all, for that matter. I'll work on it 🙂

Morning routines are so difficult to perfect, I totally understand. I wish I had one too, and I very much romanticise the idea of being a morning person because it seems so exhilarating. Maybe we should start a separate thread for tips on creating a morning routine...

SB